Michael Speier’s Berlin

Somewhere, be it N.Y. or D.C., Paris or Berlin, I am bound to cross paths with one of the most elegant German poets, & an urban nomad to boot: Michael Speier. It is always a great pleasure to spend an afternoon or a day together, to have a brotherly flaneur to share time & talk. Baudelaire through the lens of Benjamin through the arete of Celan with a dash … Read more Michael Speier’s Berlin

The scramble for Timbuktu & the Oldest Library South of the Sahara

From this week’s edition of signandsight, the opening paragraphs of an essay/reportage by Charlotte Wiedemann. The full piece is here : Scenes from the race for influence over Africa’s ancient written culture. The evening light throws pink feathers across the sky. A herd of goats sends dust spiralling into the air and as it settles, a sand-coloured twilight descends on the sand-coloured city. In front of the mud construction … Read more The scramble for Timbuktu & the Oldest Library South of the Sahara

Robert Kelly on Brooklyn (3)

CITY AS PILGRIMAGE (continued…) After the movies,  a hot potato knish, square as a stiff cushion, peppery, greasy fingers you could lick after the main dish, a delicate aftertaste.  A good cure for memories.  A good banishment of sentimentality.  Lick the salt, lick the skin.  And then go left again, down to the end of Pitkin Avenue. Hopkinson was an open side street,  but most of the side streets … Read more Robert Kelly on Brooklyn (3)

Robert Kelly on Brooklyn (2)

CITY AS PILGRIMAGE (continued…) East:  Sunrise, the highway to the book I would set out, down the four steps cement steps of Mrs. Shevlin’s house where we rented our apartment, cross the little cement patio, turn left. Pass the stoop where Loretta sometimes stood, the Polish girl next door, innocent slinky and pretty and sad with acne.  Pass the ever-open Italian social and athletic club where old men, never … Read more Robert Kelly on Brooklyn (2)

Robert Kelly on Brooklyn (1)

CITY AS PILGRIMAGE by Robert Kelly You don’t live in a city. You live across it.  Or athwart it, or through it.  You live through a city, and the routes of your travel are mapped by your own compulsions, infatuations, dreads.  Your sense of identity,  your sense of the task that lies before you, your work, the enterprise that the city will shape.  Your whole nature inscribes a Milky … Read more Robert Kelly on Brooklyn (1)